About Us

TRANSCEND FESTIVAL IS POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO COVID-19

Transcend Festival aims to provide a much-needed safer space for around 300 trans, non-binary and intersex people to take a break from cisnormative society – to learn, share, organise and have fun.

We’re planning to host a packed lineup of workshops – both practical and political – on themes like 
trans healthcare, anti-racism, self-defence, trans prisoner support, decolonising gender, sex worker solidarity, using power tools, dance, trans history, and kids’ workshops.

…Alongside a whole bunch of services and activities:
hairdressers, makeup, clothes swaps, massage, sauna, sock wrestling, stalls, meet-ups, life-drawing, open-mic, film, music, drag, DJs, and more.

Transcend Festival is a not-for-profit, volunteer run, non-hierarchically organised event. Accessibility and inclusion are our top priorities. We aim to centre marginalised voices – of those who are trans and disabled, people of colour, from working class backgrounds, affected by transmisogyny, or face other forms of oppression within the community.

We want Transcend Festival to be accessible to any trans people, regardless of financial circumstances: tickets will be sold on a wide sliding-scale, with free tickets available. We also aim to keep as many of the services available on the weekend free.


Transcend Ethos

The following beliefs and intentions are shared by every one of the Transcend organisers. They are the principles beneath all of our decisions about the festival. These lists are far from exhaustive, and we imagine that they might change and evolve. We acknowledge that we make mistakes and may not always act in a way that’s in line with our own ethos.

If you have any feedback on our ethos/organising, we have an anonymous feedback form.

Things we believe:

  • The fight for our rights begun with homeless black trans sex workers who threw bricks at cops.
  • Trans people are powerful and we can affect change.
  • We are complex individuals with a range of emotions, experiences and needs.
  • An individual’s choices about social/legal/medical ‘transition’ are their own to make and don’t affect the validity of their identity.
  • The gender binary is a social construct not a biological reality – and the dominant perception of gender in the UK is a white western construct.
  • We exist and we have always existed, across every culture.
  • Self-ID is valid – we’re allowed to identify with any words that feel right, while remaining mindful of the context and history of those words and how they affect others.
  • My body, my rules: The individual is the expert on their own body, and no-one else has a right to their body.
  • We aim to strengthen our community so that every person is empowered to give what they can and receive what they need. There can be strength in depending on each other.
  • We’re all making mistakes all the time, and we all have the capacity to learn and change, though some of us may need more time and support during that change.
  • We can hurt people without meaning to, and without realising it.
  • We can move through conflict and address harm without relying on punishment or ostracisation.1
  • Transformative Justice2 and building communities, not Criminal Justice, prisons and policing.
  • The police are not our friends. We understand that members of our communities have different experiences with the police and therefore police presence makes our spaces unsafe.
  • Talking about oppression that affects us is emotional labour, and is predominantly unpaid. It doesn’t have to come down to oppressed people, and nobody has the right to expect it from us.
  • In the group, everyone’s thoughts and feelings are equally valid and important. But as society doesn’t treat us that way, we have to amplify voices that are usually not listened to.
  • Nobody should ever be required to prove their disability in order to access the resources they need.
  • Cultural appropriation is a manifestation of white supremacy, and can include dress, accessories, hair3 and language4 .
  • ‘Ally’ is a verb, not a noun. You never arrive as an ally, you must continually practice allyship.
  • Sex work is work. Sex workers are entitled to freedom from oppression.
  • We acknowledge that the above issues are usually complex and nuanced and we seek to avoid falling into traditional ‘hero’ and ‘villain’ narratives that are used in the criminal justice system, we favour a more porgessive understanding of conflict, prejudice and healing.

Things we try to do:

  • Organise non-hierarchically, and whilst acknowledging wider context
  • Make space for everyone, especially the most marginalised among us
  • Be open to different ways of communication
  • Be ready to hear each other
  • Empower each other
  • Support each other to enforce our boundaries
  • Move away from elitist/inaccessible language, by explaining the words we use
  • Avoid asking for unpaid emotional labour
  • Encourage mutual aid and the sharing of resources, within the capacity and with consent of individuals
  • Acknowledge individual’s capacity, prioritise wellbeing
  • Racism, misogyny, classism, ableism, fatphobia, and cultural appropriation are unacceptable in Transcend spaces. We are committed to using Transformative Justice practices to hold people accountable.

Notes
1. Instagram: @clementinemorrigan
2. Transform Harm (website), Teen Vogue – Transformative Justice Explained (article), Empty Cages Collective (website)
3. Gal-dem – Can White People Wear Dreadlocks? (article), Article on cultural appropriation in tattooing
4. Wear Your Voice Mag – Appropriation of African American Vernacular English (article), Regarding Spirit Animals (article), Problematic Language and Alternatives (google doc, copy)

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